Trio of CCU football players earn invites to the East-West Shrine Bowl


CONWAY, S.C. – A trio of Coastal Carolina football seniors in Jeffrey GunterJaivon Heiligh, and Isaiah Likely have earned an invitation to the 97th East-West Shrine Bowl, which will be held on Feb. 3, 2022, in Las Vegas, Nev.

A two-time All-Sun Belt first-team selection, Gunter leads the team and ranks in the top five in the Sun Belt with 9.0 tackles-for-loss and 6.5 sacks this season. He has also recorded 29 total tackles, four quarterback hurries, one pass breakup, forced a fumble, and recovered another fumble from his bandit end position this year.

In his four years at Coastal, Gunter has totaled 162 tackles, including 89 solo stops. His 39.0 tackles-for-loss and 18.0 sacks both rank second all-time in CCU’s career record books behind only Tarron Jackson in both categories. He also has forced eight fumbles, totaled five pass breakups, picked off one pass, and blocked two kicks while at CCU.

Heiligh made history in the win over Troy on Oct. 28, as he recorded his 10th career 100-yard receiving game, the most in CCU history. This season, the senior wideout leads the team with 40 receptions for a team-high 792 yards and five touchdowns. He is averaging 19.8 yards per catch and ranks among the leaders in the Sun Belt in receiving yards, receptions, and receiving yards per game this season.

Overall, he ranks third all-time in pass receptions in CCU history with 165 and is just 18 catches away from tying the all-time leader Matt Hazel and his 183 receptions. Heiligh also ranks third in career receiving yards at CCU with 2,489 and is fourth in receiving touchdowns with 20 for his four-year career at Coastal.

Likely continues to live up to his preseason hype as one of the best tight ends in the nation, as he was recently named one of eight semifinalists for the 2021 John Mackey Award. This season, he is second on the team with 34 catches for 609 yards but leads the team and the Sun Belt with eight touchdown catches. His team-high eight receiving touchdowns also rank seventh nationally, while his 609 receiving yards are sixth in the Sun Belt and 45th nationally.

Versus Arkansas State on Oct. 7, Likely set a new Sun Belt record, becoming the first-ever tight end to have four touchdowns in a single game, and also became the first-ever Chant to catch four TD passes in a game. His four touchdown catches in the win were tied for the second-most in a single game in Sun Belt history by any player, while his 232 receiving yards were the third-most in SBC single-game history. His 232 receiving yards were also the second-most in a single game in CCU’s 19-year history and the most-ever by a tight end.

In his four years at Coastal, Likely ranks sixth in CCU’s career annals in career receptions with 108 and career receiving yards with 1,747. He also ranks third all-time in career receiving touchdowns with 23, one spot ahead of Heiligh.

The East-West Shrine Bowl is the longest-running college all-star football game in the nation. The East-West Shrine Bowl is an important part of America’s football tradition, giving top college players a chance to showcase their talents to NFL scouts and a national television audience.

For more than 90 years, some of football’s greatest athletes and coaches have contributed to the tradition of the East-West Shrine Bowl. Players like Gale Sayers, Tom Brady, John Elway, Allan Page, Dick Butkus, Brett Favre, Gino Marchetti, and Walter Payton, along with coaches Don Shula, Dick Vermeil, Paul “Bear” Bryant, and Jerry Glanville, to name a few, have supported the East-West Shrine Bowl.

Courtesy – Coastal Carolina Athletics

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